Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar will not last long as Inspector-General of Police under a Prime Minister who exacts the highest professional standards from the top cop in the country and who does not just play with twitter or come out with nonsensical answers to serious questions.
Khalid’s response to the query by former Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir as to why there had been no investigation as to who had issued the order to murder Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu is most nonsensical to say the least.
With great magnanimity, Khalid excused Mahathir for his ignorance in raising questions about Altantuya’s murder on the ground that the former Prime Minister was unaware of details of the police investigations into the matter, including allegations made by the fugitive police commando Sirul Azhar Umar.
Khalid said yesterday:
“Of course (Mahathir) doesn’t know what actions we have taken (and) what investigations we have conducted.
“What Sirul recently raised has also been probed by us and we are of the view that there is nothing (in his claim) for us to continue (with) the investigation.”
Khalid said Sirul had many opportunities to raise the claim but he did not.
“My response to Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Mahathir: this case happened eight years ago.
“Sirul has plenty of opportunities to raise this issue – before the trial, during the police investigation, after the trial, while waiting for the appeal – but why now? This is the big question.”
It is sad that the Inspector-General of Police did not realise that he was making a fool of himself with such a response as Sirul did raise the issue more than once that he was merely carrying out orders in Altantuya’s murder, but the highest police authorities were not prepared to carry out a thorough investigation into Sirul’s allegations.
In fact, Sirul had consistently said during police investigations, the trial and after the appeal that he was merely carrying out orders to kill Altantuya.
In his first police statement on 19th November 2006 after his arrest for the murder of Altantuya, Sirul confessed he was acting under orders and was offered money to kill Altantuya and destroy all evidence by blowing up her body with C4 military explosives.
On 3rd February 2009, Sirul pleaded in the Kuala Lumpur High Court to not pass the death sentence on him, as he was like “a black sheep that has to be sacrificed” to protect the plans and intentions of those who are not in court to face charges.
Sirul said from the dock: “I have no reason to cause hurt, what’s more to take the life of the victim in such a cruel manner…I appeal to the court, which has the power to determine if I live or die, not to sentence me so as to fulfil other’s plans for me.”
On 9th April 2009, the High Court sentenced the two former police commandos Sirul and Azila Hadri to death for the murder of Altantuya, bringing to a close the 159-day trial.
Sirul and Azila were acquitted by the Court of Appeal on 23rd August 2013. The Federal Court heard the prosecution’s appeal against the duo’s acquittal on 23rd June 2013 and overturned the duo’s acquittal, finding them both guilty of murder and sentenced them to death on 13th January 2015.
But Sirul had absconded to Sydney Australia, and in an interview with Malaysiakini on Tuesday, 17th February, 2015, Sirul said:
“I was under orders. The important people with motive are still free.
“It is not like I do not love the police (force) or the country, but I acted under orders.”
Sirul has also said: “If I die today, I would not find peace. I did what I was told and this is what I get in return.”
Khalid cannot deny that there is extraordinary consistency in Sirul’s statements in the past nine years from his first police statement on 19th November 2006, his statement from the dock in the Kuala Lumpur High Court on 3rd February 2009 and his latest interview with Malaysiakini after Federal Court decision on 13th January 2015 to convict him of murder of Altantuya and sentenced him to death sentence.
Under these circumstances, Khalid’s explanation has totally collapsed when he sought to reply to Mahathir’s query with the response: “Sirul has plenty of opportunities to raise this issue – before the trial, during the police investigation, after the trial, while waiting for the appeal – but why now? This is the big question.”
He should substantiate his claim that “What Sirul recently raised has also been probed by us and we are of the view that there is nothing (in his claim) for us to continue (with) the investigation”, to give facts and details as to what police investigations had been conducted, when, and by who, as to justify his assertion.
Khalid is back to square one. He has not really answered the question posed by Mahathir and all thinking and justice-loving Malaysians: that although Sirul and Azila were the executioners but who was the mastermind who gave the order to kill Altantuya!
It is a black mark on the Malaysian police, the Attorney-General and the Judiciary that although it was as plain as daylight that Sirul and Azila never knew Altantuya and had no motive to murder her, and that the heinous act could only be committed on the orders of someone else, all the three institutions were in cohorts in not wanting to pursue the matter further.
So the question that Mahathir asked two days ago, “Who ordered killing of Altantuya?” is most pertinent and valid as it is a question which had been asked umpteenth times in Malaysia in the past eight-and-a-half years since 18th October 2006 and will continue to be asked in the coming years until a convincing answer is given.
For more than eight years, when Sirul and Azila were standing trial for the murder of Altantunya, they were given special police protection, as the duo were the only two accused in the nation’s history who were allowed to hide their identity when entering or leaving court by covering their faces to avoid being photographed.
This is why despite the fanfare surrounding the trial from High Court to the Federal Court, the media never had the opportunity to photograph the face of the two men and members of the public have no idea what they look like.
It was only after Sirul’s absconding to Australia after the Federal Court verdict that the police released Sirul’s photograph.
What was the reason for the special police protection to Sirul and Azila to hide their identity for the past eight-and-a-half years?
Was this an indication that there had been some special understanding with the two accused with regard to their prosecution but which had gone awry?
After the Federal Court’s decision passing the death sentence on Sirul and Azila for the murder of Altantuya, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak dismissed Sirul’s claim that he had acted under orders to murder Altantuya as “utter rubbish” and “total rubbish”.
How does the Prime Minister know whether Sirul’s claim was “utter rubbish” and “total rubbish”?
Did the police question and investigate Najib to find out what the Prime Minister knew about Altantuya’s murder?
The IGP should not continue to hedge and dodge about Sirul’s shocking claims but must act belatedly to conduct a re-investigation into Altantuya’s murder to find out who was the mastermind who ordered the killing of Altantuya.